Mary Harron’s Charlie Says, based on the Charles Manson cult, has been picked up by IFC Films for distribution, The Hollywood Reporter said. A 2019 release is being planned.
Matt Smith (Doctor Who, The Crown) plays Manson, who died in prison in 2017 after being convicted for ordering the slaughter of at least nine people, including actress Sharon Tate, on August 8 and 9, 1969, in Los Angeles. The killings were carried out by Manson’s followers, and Charlie Says focuses on three of them: Susan Atkins (Marianne Rendon), Mary Brunner (Suki Waterhouse) and Leslie Van Houten (Hannah Murray). The women were sentenced to death, but their terms were changed to life imprisonment after the California state removed the death penalty.
Harron’s film looks at the rehabilitation of these women through the eyes of graduate student Karlene Faith (Merritt Wever). Charlie Says was premiered at the recently concluded Venice Film Festival. The film is based on Ed Sanders’s true crime book The Family (1971).
Harron’s credits include I Shot Andy Warhol (1996), based on true events, and the satire American Psycho (2000), based on Brett Easton Ellis’s novel of the same name. Charlie Says is the second production about Manson to hit screens in 2019, the other being Quentin Tarantino’s Once Upon A Time in Hollywood. Manson is also expected to make an appearance in the second season of the Netflix series Mindhunter. Manson is played by Damon Herriman in Tarantino’s film.